Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Fall colors

 On Sunday I went for a hike along the Northwest Branch and saw this interesting bit of fall color.  The last few feet of the tree branch is brilliant red, but closer to the trunk the leaves are still green.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Hiking the Northwest Branch south of Colesville Road

 On Route 29, Colesville Road is Burnt Mills East park, it is on the same side of the road as the Trader Joe's and California Tortilla.  This park has a reasonably sized parking area and a number of nice trails.  Facing the trailheads, the trail on the right is closest to the Northwest Branch and it is called the Fall Line trail.  It Proceeds downstream and ends when it meets the Northwest Branch trail.  On the left is the Northwest Branch trail. In this area it is higher up the hill than the Northwest Branch stream, but it will eventually come down and meet the stream where the Fall Line Trail ends.  The Fall line trail is the steeper, rockier of the two trails and is only suitable for hiking, whereas the Northwest Branch trail has been designed to allow biking too.

Another trail in the area is the Copperhead Run trail.  There are 3 "chute" trails that connect it to the Northwest Branch.

The Northwest Branch itself is a good-size stream.  In many places it is rocky, but other areas are smooth and placid.

One of the interesting, but noisy, sights is where Interstate 495 crosses the stream.  The bridge is high above the trees, and although you can hear the traffic, when you are walking south it is hard to see the bridge until you are right under it.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Walt Whitman High School Construction Update

Walt Whitman High School is in the middle of a 24.5 million dollar expansion.  I first posted about this in early March of this year when they started tearing down the old Whittier Woods Elementary School, but now things look a lot different.

The building is just beginning to take shape, with some of the steel beams and concrete block walls being put up.  In the foreground there will eventually be a parking lot.


 The existing Walt Whitman H.S. is on the left, the road goes to the loading dock.  On the right is where the new expansion connects to the school.

For comparison, here is a photo I took back in 2008 when the school was still standing.

If you'd like more information about what is going on, here is an article on Bethesda Beat about the expansion, and you can look at this PDF of the different options they considered.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Construction on the Little Falls Trail

 Construction is starting on improvements to the Little Falls Stream Valley Park and the Little Falls hiker-biker paved trail.  The work is scheduled for late summer 2020 (ie, now) through Spring of 2021 and will close portions of the trail.

Two pedestrian bridges that connect the trail to the Capital Crescent Trail near Westmoreland hills and near the Dalecarlia tunnel will be replaced. (For those of you who have memorized every bridge in the area and the designations the Montgomery County Department of Parks has given them, they are bridges P17-01 and P17-02, there will be a quiz later.)  In addition to replacing the bridges, the trail in the area will be repaved, there will be drainage improvements and stream channel stabilization.

Footbridge P17-01 on the left.

Markers along the trail in preparation for the construction

P17-02 and Little Falls stream

More information is available on the county website.

And now for the promised quiz, there is just one question:

Who gives bridges names like P17-01 and P17-02?

Friday, September 4, 2020

Walking around Bethesda at night

 Wednesday night, after the rain, I went for a walk around Downtown Bethesda.  It was a cool and quiet evening.  Here are some photos I took, starting with the new mural on the parking garage on Woodmont Avenue near Battery Lane.

Veterans Plaza, where Woodmont and Norfolk Avenues meet.  

Woodmont Market

Sala Thai

California Tortilla